Let me ask you this: From where should our giving stem?
FILL IN THE BLANK: “Your giving will start with your ___________”
The answer is your heart. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor 8:5 that the churches of Macedonia – churches with very little – took on the fellowship of the ministering to the saints, i.e. they took part in giving to other churches in need. “And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.”
“…but first gave their own selves to the Lord…” That’s a heart-issue and not an economic one! SO: I believe it’s fair to say that your giving is a good indicator of your heart’s spiritual condition.
SHOULD YOU BE CONCERNED OR CARE ABOUT YOUR GIVING, OR THE LACK THEREOF?
Mark 12:41-44, “And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much. [vs42] And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. [vs43] And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: [vs44] For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.”
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself cared about WHAT was being given [vs42-44]…BUT ALSO, the Lord Jesus cared about HOW people were giving their treasure [vs41]! It’s evident from this text that the Lord cares about HOW we give.
Q) Do YOU think the Lord Jesus observes YOUR GIVING? Do you think He CARES about your giving? And why would He care? It is because giving is a matter of the HEART! Again, your giving IS a good indicator of your heart’s spiritual condition.
IF THE LORD JESUS CARES ABOUT OUR GIVING, THEN WHAT IS GIVING? HOW IS THE GIVING OF OUR TREASURE ACTUALLY DEFINED?
Simply stated, the giving of our treasure that stems from our heart is defined in TITHES and OFFERINGS.
WHAT IS A TITHE? Well, the Bible defines this word for us when we compare the following Scripture texts:
Gen 14:18-20, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. [vs19] And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: [vs20] And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.”
Heb 7:1-2a, “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; [vs2a] To whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all“
From comparing these verses we see that the tithe is a tenth part…and a tenth part of all…of your whole increase. So if you’re increased with $1,000 you’re tithe is a tenth part, or $100.
“Oh“, but you might say, “tithing is Old Testament and not for today“…but that is a WRONG STATEMENT. Tithing is throughout the Bible! I got the following illustration from “The ABCs of Christian Growth“, Bible Baptist Church Publications, Pastor Robert J. Sargent. This is a list that shows tithing throughout the Word of God:
Abraham COMMENCED it – Gen 14:18-20
Jacob CONTINUED it – Gen 28:20-22
Moses CONFIRMED it – Lev 27:30
Malachi COMMANDED it – Mal 3:8-10
Jesus COMMENDED it – Matt 23:23
God COMMISSIONED it – 1 Cor 9:13-14
Paul CONFORMED it – 1 Cor 16:2
Tithing IS a SCRIPTURAL PRINCIPLE! Abraham and Jacob tithed 500 years before the Law was instituted; Moses, Malachi, and the Lord Jesus spoke of tithing during the period of the Law; and Paul explained tithing after the Law in the New Testament. So should a Christian tithe? YES. Is tithing optional? NO. BTW: Too often, we get hung up on the tithe and forget that every penny we have is the Lord’s. All of our treasure, not just the tithe, is to be used as God leads and directs us. As stewards, it isn’t 10% that belongs to God, it is 100%!
WHAT IS AN OFFERING? An offering is something that is presented for acceptance; oblation; sacrifice; can also mean a treat or gift. To get an understanding of an offering, read these verses from the Book of Ezra:
1:4, “And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.”
3:5, “And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.”
7:16, “And all the silver and gold that thou canst find in all the province of Babylon, with the freewill offering of the people, and of the priests, offering willingly for the house of their God which is in Jerusalem“
8:28, “And I said unto them, Ye are holy unto the LORD; the vessels are holy also; and the silver and the gold are a freewill offering unto the LORD God of your fathers.”
What we get from these verses is the offering was a freewill gift given for the LORD’S acceptance. The offering IS DIFFERENT FROM the tithe. The tithe is a required amount – a tenth part – given obediently. The offering is an unspecified amount given devotedly.
We ought to be concerned about this matter of our giving…God is. Our giving is a matter of the heart. The giving of our treasure consists of tithes and offerings, and God has ordained those tithes and offerings to be used to finance His work.